Spanish Unemployment Rises Again as Rajoy Targets Re-Election

  • Sept. jobless claims add to two months of rising unemployment
  • Rajoy pegging re-election to job creation and faster growth

The pace of job creation in Spain continued to slow in September as the country heads into the final months before a general election pegged on employment.

The number of unemployed Spaniards rose by 26,087, the Labor Ministry said, adding to two consecutive months of rising joblessness. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, unemployment fell by 9,746 people. Adding to the mix data was social security sign-ups, a measure of staff, which rose for the month, albeit at a lower pace.

“On a seasonally-adjusted basis, it was a good month,” said Miguel Cardoso,
chief Spain economist at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA in Madrid, adding
that most jobs came from the education sector, coinciding with the start of the school year. “The question is whether this helps reverse the trend from the previous months, or the pace of job creation slows as the economy decelerates going into the second-half.”

Unemployment typically rises in September as temporary summer workers are laid off when the tourist season comes to a close. Even so, from a year earlier, jobless claims were 353,608 lower, the biggest September drop since official records began.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is entering the final months of his four-year term, with elections due Dec. 20. Rajoy has pegged his re-election campaign to faster growth and job creation, promising to have 20 million people at work by the end of his second term from the current 17 million.

Earlier this week, the Bank of Spain reined in the government’s growth forecast, pointing to an economic slowdown. The central bank said the economy may have grown to 0.8 percent in the third quarter, below the government’s estimate of approximately 1percent for the quarter.

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